Easy WMS increases its online orders eightfold
SurDiscount's warehouse governed by Easy WMS is devoted to the preparation of online orders
Stationery shop SurDiscount has commissioned a new 2,700 m2 warehouse in Saint-Évarzec, France, designed to prepare orders from the company’s website. In addition to pallet racks, Mecalux has implemented its Easy WMS warehouse management system along with the Multi Carrier Shipping Software module. These two systems will be charged with organising all operations, accurately monitoring the 9,000 available SKUs and automating communication with transport agencies. With these solutions, SurDiscount has multiplied the number of orders it prepares eightfold, which has helped to move the company into the online world and expand its business in France and even Europe.
A prosperous family business
SurDiscount is a French family enterprise specialising in stationery and office supplies. It was founded in 2006, during the e-commerce boom and at the height of internet flash sales. The owners of the company decided to launch a completely innovative concept: a stationery shop with hundreds of online discounts.
Over the years, SurDiscount has diversified its activity with arts and crafts and fine arts materials. The company has three sales outlets in Brittany where it offers reprographic, photocopying, photo printing, stamp making and key duplication services. Additionally, it has recently begun repairing computer equipment.
In 2019, the firm created its website, SurDiscount.com, an online stationery shop with hundreds of discounts. Its objective is to expand in the French market and throughout Europe.
SurDiscount Manager Anthony Le Fur explains, “Initially, all online orders were prepared at our shop. However, we realised that if we really wanted to be quicker and more reliable, we had to separate tasks in our physical shops from our online logistics operations.”
To do so, the company started up a 2,700 m2 warehouse in Saint-Évarzec dedicated specifically to storing its 9,000 SKUs and to preparing orders sold via its webpage.
Mecalux equipped the facility with pallet racking, a storage system that stands out for its versatility, as the locations can be adapted to the sizes and particular characteristics of the goods. The racks provide direct access to the pallets, which is a must for facilitating and streamlining storage and order prep tasks.
Mecalux also installed a 115 m2 mezzanine floor, a solution that makes the most of the warehouse height to double the storage area. The upper floor is home to the offices, while the lower houses the consolidation and packaging area.
Choosing a WMS
“We have a lot of SKUs. At our physical shops, we manage about 26,000 of them; meanwhile, at our online warehouse, right now, we have only 9,000. We aim to bring that figure up to 20,000 over the next two years,” says the SurDiscount Manager.
Handling such a large number of items involves the added difficulty of increased error rates. “To avoid mistakes, we opted to implement a warehouse management system,” adds Anthony Le Fur.
Deciding on a warehouse management system is a great responsibility for a company, since it is a determining factor in the future of the supply chain. It is ideal to choose a software program that adapts to the particular features of the business, optimises warehouse operations and has the capacity to grow as the company’s logistics needs change.
“I researched this online, and I found out that Easy WMS from Mecalux could communicate with XL Soft, our ERP system. Knowing this made the decision easier because this guaranteed that the integration would work well,” notes Anthony Le Fur.
SurDiscount also had to choose the type of architecture of the WMS. Its Manager says, “Our XL Soft ERP operates in the SaaS (software as a service) cloud-based mode, so it was clear to us that the WMS should do so as well. With this functionality, we don’t have to worry about managing the server and can concentrate on our main activity.” In Easy WMS’s Saas mode, warehouse operators access the system, associated applications, and updates from any web browser and with maximum security.
“I really appreciate the support of the Mecalux sales teams and technicians; they helped us to identify our needs and to become familiar with using a WMS,” enthuses Anthony Le Fur.
Operations in the installation
The Warehouse Management System Easy WMS oversees all operations in SurDiscount’s facility, from goods receipt to order preparation and dispatch. It not only strictly controls the product, but also optimises movements in order to boost productivity.
“Putting the installation and the warehouse management system into service at the same time was perfect — the operators learned exactly what to do right away,” affirms Le Fur.
Easy WMS plans and manages the work of all operators with the aim of increasing agility and preventing errors. “By means of radiofrequency terminals, it sends the workers precise instructions on how to carry out each task. It’s a very intuitive system, so you learn how to use it really quickly. We have three to five employees on staff, depending on peaks in warehouse activity, and none of them needs to know how to distribute the goods,” says Anthony Le Fur.
Goods receipt and storage
Every month, the XL Soft ERP notifies Easy WMS in advance of the arrival of a multitude of pallets sent by suppliers and containing thousands of small items. Immediately afterwards, the operators identify each product with the help of a radiofrequency terminal so that the WMS can check that the stock received matches that indicated previously by the ERP system.
Two-way communication between the WMS and ERP system is crucial for an e-commerce company such as SurDiscount. Easy WMS confirms to the ERP system the receipt of the goods and the stock available for sale. Therefore, Anthony Le Fur emphasises, “It was essential for the interface between both software programs to function perfectly.” The WMS accurately monitors each item in real time. Once it has identified the goods, it assigns them a storage location.
Optimal goods distribution and organisation in the warehouse result in more streamlined operations. This enables operators to locate products more quickly. Digitisation has constituted a valuable source of support for this installation, as it plays a part in planning all tasks: inventory, replenishment, picking and dispatch.
This is the main operation for any e-commerce firm: preparing hundreds of daily orders, each made up of very few lines. The SurDiscount warehouse, in particular, dispatches between 6,000 and 10,000 orders a month.
“To speed up the process, we prepare orders in two different ways: by grouping and by waves,” explains the company Director. These criteria enable a single operator to prepare multiple orders at the same time in one warehouse run. The WMS specifies the aisle the operator needs to go to, the location and the item and quantity to pick.
For order grouping, the operators travel around the warehouse, locating the SKUs and depositing them in boxes that they then move to the consolidation area. There, they separate the items, sort them by order and package them. The advantage of this working method is that orders can be checked to make sure that no mistakes have been made before sending them to customers.
When orders are picked by wave, on the other hand, operators have a cart with as many boxes as there are orders to prepare. Easy WMS gives operators instructions on the aisle, location, quantity to remove and the box in which they should place the goods. In this way, each order is prepared as the items are extracted from their locations, gaining in speed and reducing errors.
Although the company uses both working methods, wave picking is more common. “Now, picking mistakes are few and far between. With the same team as before, we’ve increased the number of orders we prepare eightfold,” remarks Anthony Le Fur.
Packaging and dispatches
A key process for guaranteeing customer satisfaction is the last operation performed in the warehouse before orders are distributed to customers. All items must be properly packaged to ensure their integrity during delivery. Moreover, smooth communication between the installation and the transport agencies is necessary in order to organise dispatches and avoid mistakes and delays.
To achieve this, SurDiscount has implemented Multi Carrier Shipping Software, a module that adds functionalities to the WMS, enabling it to generate and print a label for each order according to the carrier charged with delivering it. This label includes, among other details, the tracking number used by customers to monitor their orders.
“Thanks to the Multi Carrier Shipping Software module, we’ve saved time in order dispatches. Before, to print the labels, we had to communicate directly with the transport agencies. Now, when we scan each order, the carrier label and delivery note are created automatically. This brings down the number of errors even more and helps to better identify the orders scheduled to be sent,” explains Anthony Le Fur.
Easy WMS connects with the transport agencies that deliver SurDiscount’s orders: GLS, Mondial Relay and Colissimo (with the potential to add others if so required). Through this automatic connection, the carriers are provided in advance with all the information they need to make the delivery, such as the orders to pick up, the number of parcels and the destination.
The go-to software for e-commerce
SurDiscount has successfully penetrated the world of e-commerce. To do this, it has opened a new 1,200 m2 warehouse in the town of Saint-Évarzec, devoted exclusively to the preparation of online orders. The company made the strategic decision to differentiate the logistics operations of its webpage from those of its shops.
To successfully manage all its SKUs and optimise picking, the firm decided to instal a warehouse management system. It chose Easy WMS from Mecalux because it meets all its particular needs and has allowed SurDiscount to professionalise its logistics processes.
With this software, the stationery company prepares eight times as may orders while using the same resources. This represents a huge success for the firm, which aims to offer 20,000 SKUs online within two years and to further its growth in the e-commerce retail sector.
I recommend Easy WMS because we’re extremely satisfied; it’s helped us to expand our business online. Plus, thanks to this WMS, we can prepare more orders, and we’ve optimised our profitability and the quality of our service.
Advantages for SurDiscount
- Eight times as many orders prepared: Easy WMS has enabled SurDiscount to boost its picking throughput using the same resources, up from an average of 50 orders per day to 400.
- E-commerce-centred logistics: the company began selling its products online to expand its market. Easy WMS manages the operators at all times so that they can prepare and dispatch orders quickly and without error.
- Integration with carriers: the WMS communicates with the transport agencies that deliver SurDiscount’s orders to organise dispatches and prevent delays.